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Unpacking governance in public administration:

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mona matepi

on 6 October 2013

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Transcript of Unpacking governance in public administration:

ethics - derived from the Greek ethos
meaning character or custom - an organisational code conveying moral integrity and consistent values in services to the public (Korac-Kakabadse et al, 2000)
Ethical behaviour represents what is morally accepted as "good" and "right" as opposed to "bad" and "wrong" (Simms, 1992 p.506).
What is "ethical behaviour" lies in a grey zone where right/worng vs good bad dichotomies may not always exist; ethics are linked to values, enduring beliefs that influence choices. Some ethical values eg fairness+honesty are concerned with 'right & wrong". Critical link between ethics&values is that ethical standards and principles can be applied to the resolution of values and conflicts or dilemmas as seen in governance today(Korac-Kakabadse et al, 2000)
Deciding on seabed mining - are our foundations for decision making ethically compromised?
Knowledge sharing is important to building the capacity of those in decision-making positions.

"Need to know" - belongs to the old world system and must make way for "transparency"

Building capacity empowers, lends to inclusiveness and equity in representation of decision-making bodies
The governance

Why have efforts to reform governments - (eg NPM) failed to curb political corruption?

Why is transparency still an issue in executive
level decision making processes (not all
information is as readily available).

How does corporate influence impact
public governance?

Public administration: a crisis of ethics
an analysis of executive decision making

Public Governance, a crisis of ethics
Key Argument:
Weak decision making processes at multi-tiers of public administration are borne out of a bankruptcy of ethics which lead us down a path of poor governance.

1. Political corruption ever widening in higher circles - deteriorating
standard of morality - erosion of basic human values
2. Crass materialism - excessive focus on wealth accumulation -
3. Capacity to participate in decision making is severely restricted by a gap in knowledge sharing within the hierarchy

What does corrupt behaviour in public governance look like?
Some examples:

* Global governance level - decisions made outside of region of decision-impact. (EU-SPC, PIC Govts decision re seabed mining)

* Regional governance level - arms-length model tendency to create divide between Board & CEO. Discretionary powers, greater autonomy, enables manipulation of Board (above)

* National governance level - NZATPA transnational biopiracy attempt (Hutchings & Greensill, 2010)
New Public Management?
The instrumental approach (Fieldman, 1972)?
Corporate governance model in public administrative systems?
- what is distorting the
purpose of public service?
Examples of social unrest
New Zealand protests against SCGB

Brazil protest against 2014 stadium

PICs protest against DSM


Ethical crisis is driven by market
influence on executive salaries & compensation packages.(Korac-
Boisvert & Kouzmin,1995)

Rationalist thinking has transformed
how private/public activities are l legitimised in society. (Habermas.
1975;Offe, 1984)
Arms-length model of governance further promotes gap in decision-making between Board and CEO;

Limited knowledge of organisational issues keep some decision makers, especially those representing marginalised groups out of decision-making.

Tendency for ethics to lose traction insofar as the governance debate goes. Ever wonder why?

Choice is between the high lifestyle
and possession of high moral conduct,
service to public good, truthfulness, trust,
patience, tolerance, etc..basically those
values that cannot be bought are not so
"cool" in comparison.

NPM embraces separation
of policy formulation from operations
and adoption of public sector mgmt
praxis i.e privatisation, outsourcing &
partnerships (Gow and Dufour,2000).
altering the meaning of some traditional
public service values e.g greater focus on
results and process...(business case
model, a shift away from collective-
Crisis of ethics contributed to
problems with decision making in pub-
lic administration -a leadership issue.

Leadership development: on-the-job experience, mentoring emphasized as a means to resolving leadership ethical dilemmas (Korac-Kakabadse). Corruption of executive behaviour reflects the
political culture of the time - its standards,
values and norms that are considered
acceptable to society.

Political corruption - delusions or honest mistakes, deceptions or strategic manipulation of information processes, or just bad luck?(Flyvberg,2009) "First, we need to honestly acknowledge that infrastructure investment is no easy fix but is fraught with problems... ”President Obama was immensely helpful when at a 2009 White House Fiscal Responsibility Summit he openly identified "the costly overruns, the fraud and abuse, the endless excuses" in public procurement as key problems (The White House,2009).
Politics has been defined as the process whereby power is distributed or denied. In the case of public administration, it is a question of about who gets what, when, and how” (Lasswell, 1936).
Politics is both a science and an art form. It is science in that it lends itself to methodical study, analysis of empirical evidence, and predictions of future behavior. It is art in that it evokes emotion, and possesses an intangible element of personal flair and charisma. The study of politics is interesting but made more difficult by the intensity of emotions that can de-rail rational thought. It is often said that politics, like religion, is a subject that should be avoided at family reunions and other social gatherings because the discussion evokes such intense (and varied) emotions. (Sterling, 1988)
Materialism - the narrowly materialistic worldview underpinning much of modern economic thinking has contributed to the degradation of human conduct, the disruption of families and communities, the
corruption of public institutions
, and the exploitation and marginalization of large segments of the population. Materialism, is an excessive focus on wealth accumulation, primarily economic driven development plans, profit maximization, self/national interests over collective interest of the family of humanity.
Capacity - decision making is often allocated to those who either lack the capacity
to effectively contribute to decision making be it as members of a board/council or
any public authority, or are lackeys of the hierarchy. This usually means there is little
knowledge sharing between the tiers of administration – rather it operates on a “need
to know” basis which puts certain individuals in default positions of power over others.
In the case of Board members or Councillors in an institution, this scenario presents
an unequal balance of power in the administration of its functions. Where there is
inadequate capacity in decision making bodies of an institution, the ability to respond
and contribute meaningfully to in-house decision processes are limited. Such 'paper
institutions' can be improved when the capacity of members are built up so they
become active participants, contributing meaningfully to the governance of the

Blamed drivers..
Rules & procedures for
decision making
what/who made them?
how are they monitored/evaluated?
Giving ethics a voice on the
Why argue for ethics?
social problems
economic woes
unequal distribution of wealth
All occur because of poor/bad/weak executive decisions. These can be turned around - through building capacity for ethical behaviour.
Governance Problematique:
Supposition: given all best efforts
to reform, problems persists, because there is a tendency to skirt around the issues rather than
addressing them directly.

Unpacking governance
in public administration
Institutional Analysis & Development Framework
(IAD) - (E.Olstrom, 2004)
Key argument
A crisis of ethics
Assumption 1
Political corruption
Assumption 2
Crass materialism
Assumption 3
Ethics- from iteration to praxis
Thank you for your patience!
IAD framework
about over
assigned to

assigned to
assigned to
External Variables
The Internal Structure of an Action Situation (E.Ostrom 2005)
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